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tv   House Hearing on Investigation Into Deadly Amphibious Assault Vehicle...  CSPAN  May 3, 2021 11:02am-12:46pm EDT

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program 100 million doses expected in march and april and now i understand there have been delays because of increased demand for vaccines and problems with the manufacture process but the united states has committed the resources and we have done that legislatively in a bipartisan way and this was signed by president trump. the resources have been committed so the people around the world can get the vaccines much more quickly then they would have ever been able to get had it not been for both american ingenuity and inventiveness of the researchers and then the commitment to produce and ship around the world. in terms of the next pandemic we are better prepared for the vaccine but need to be repaired with the early warning and i think supply chains are also very important in they did not get much into that but the united states -- >> we take you live to a hearing with representatives from the navy and marine corps on the
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results of investigation into the amphibious assault vehicle mishap that led to the loss of nine servicemembers last july. lawmakers will also look at ways to lower the risk of future mishaps and congressman chairs the readiness subcommittee of the house armed services committee. >> members are reminded they must be visible on screen within the software platforms for the purposes of identity verification. members must continue to use the software platforms video function while attending the hearing unless the experience connectivity issues or other technical problems that render the members unable to fully participate on camera. if you experience technical difficulties please contact the committee staff. when you are recognized the video will be broadcast through television and internet speeds.
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you will be recognized as normal for questions but if you want to speak at another time you can interrupt and seek verbal recognition. please, mute your microphone when you are not speaking and remember to unmute prior to speaking. please be aware that there is a slight lag between when you start speaking and when the camera shot switches to you. please or member to keep the software platforms video function on for the entirety of the time you are attending this hearing and if you leave for a short time for reasons other than joining a different proceeding please leave your video function on. if you are leaving to join a different proceeding or will be absent for sniffing into time you should exit the software platform entirely and then rejoin if you return. please be advised that i have designated committee staff member to mute unrecognized
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members microphones, if necessary. please use the platforms a chat function to communicate with the staff regarding technical or logistical support issues. finally, there is a five-minute clock down or countdown clock on the software platforms display, usually in the upper right-hand corner. i will remind you if necessary when your time is up. now, with these and mistreated tasks out of the way i would like to focus our attention on the hearing at hand. i will reserve the majority of my opening remarks for the second panel and our first panel we would hear from the parents of two of the nine young americans who died on july 30. those nine young men volunteered to serve their country and they died because of a fully preventable training accident. and a total disregard for their
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safety. this tragedy should never have happened and resulted from a cascading series of failures, all of which were preventable. i can think of no better way to begin this hearing then to take a moment to honor their memory. i am going to read the names of the eight marines and one sailor that we lost and then i would ask for a moment of silence. first, private first class benjamin j. lance corporal marco, private first class evan, navy hospital corpsman third class christopher, lance corporal jack ryan, lance corporal geer mo,
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[inaudible] corporal wesley a rod, lance corporal chase de sweet wood and sweet wood and corporal cesar villanueva. and now, in their memory and in their honor, a moment of silence. [silence] thank you. i will now turn to mr. lamborn for any opening remarks he may have. >> mr. chairman, thank you for honoring the memory of these nine exemplary young men who wanted to serve our country. thank you for doing that.
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it is sad that we have to be here today and to have the parents of these young men appear before us. i am hopeful and working hard with you, mr. chairman, to make sure that this does not have to happen again and we have to have hearing in the future. these young men just wanted to serve our country and it is fitting that we honor their memory and it's also fitting that we get to the bottom of whatever the causes were behind this, including holding accountable anyone who needs to be held accountable. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back to you. >> thank you, mr. lamborn. i would like now to welcome and thank our witnesses. first, mr. pete -- father of navy hospital corpsman third class christopher -- and secondly mr. peter, the father private first class jack united
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states marine corps. mr. vienna, if you would like to start. >> scott good morning members of the house and thank you for the opportunity to speak about our son. his family and friends called him bobby and i wish you could see and hear from my wife today and she will allow me to speak on her behalf because she cannot talk about him without breaking down. her raw emotion and the effect she would have on this panel would be deeply moving. today we are not only morning our son but morning the other families were navigating through this pain. she became a single mother when bob was an infant and she
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struggled to give him the best possible life she could and i came into their lives when bobby was 14 years old and what i when this was most incredible mother and son relationship. the two of them lived for each other. bobby was a natural athlete excelling in jujitsu and as a high school student athlete he played football and basketball both team captain as well as on the varsity basketball team. he loved best ball in jujitsu and volunteered in his free time to mentor other boys and was a coaches dream. he was the best of us, his family and cousins looked up to him as a role model and i can say without prejudice that he was a positive influence for years. bobby, along with other eight men and this is just a short list of the reasons we called for the investigation.
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designed without safety and mine they came off the deadline, end-of-life should never have even been put back in the water. both marine and navy's own policy states. [audio difficulties] the egress training they knew they were sinking for quite some time but they were found with their full body honors armor still on and some had their helmets still strapped to the body and then no idea what to do. the radio contact or eyes with the vote sinking for 45 minutes while chasing what was away for they had been conducting helicopter exercises. all 23 transmission fluid was lost and only 6 gallons were sent to replace it although it was sent back into the water. the crew did not follow its own
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emergency -- it still would've sunk but not with them in it and a point that back of leaderships failed duty to properly train and certify that crew. just another result of a terrible lack of readiness. his mother, his surviving sisters and the officers who received her engagement ring in a box have not been able to accept this loss. now knowing it wasn't credibly preventable leaving losing her only son has broken my wife. she suffered and frankly, for the last nine months i've been on suicide watch. i refuse to leave my wife. i also refuse to call what happened on july 30 a mishap in the definition of which is an unlucky accident and we've all seen that type of investigation so we note that what is actually
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heard was a predicable outcome resulting from the reckless disregard of human life by command that ignored its own safety standards late putting their mission above the young lives that they were supposed to protect. not a combat mission and this was just training. if i hear one more time that we have to train like we fight i think my head will explode because for decades now it has been true that every year the military loses more lives to training than they do in combat. before i go any further i wish to state for the record that even after all the gross negligence that took our only son my wife and i are still not down on a military but we believe we owe it to her son to do what we can to affect the change to make it stronger and safer military and we actually want to help. that's another example of what to be expected under any institution that would allow the
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self police and allow them to deflect blame away from those of the top all hiding behind. [audio difficulties] and no possibility for the result ending in our troops and yet some are speaking of the doctrine and if this existence is what will continue to foster this function across all the military branches medical malpractice, sexual assault these combat deaths will continue to plague our troops and to the marine and navy commands as well as the subcommittee members questioning them today i wanted to ask you. [audio difficulties] what is if it was your son or daughter and our son will never come home. look, how can we keep other families from suffering this unbearable pain and please don't
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allow our sons to die in vain. thank you. >> mr. vienna, thank you for your testimony and we certainly attempt to understand the depth of your sorrow and i would like now to turn to peter. peter. >> chairman, members, distinguished members of this committee of business and on committee members on behalf of my entire family thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about our fallen son jack ryan who is the lance corporal and senator when he drowned with eight other marines and any corpsman during a preventable incident off of san clemente island, california. our son and his fraternal twin brother samuel were born prematurely at 26 weeks and were
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hospitalized for two and half months in the neonatal and intensive care unit along with another at a local hospital nursery before they came home to us. they were both fighters from the get-go. my wife, lynn, gave up her career as a flight attendant with a major airline to be a stay-at-home mom. i'm a retired federal lawn from an officer and dedicated 31 of my professional life to serve with the treasury department and the department of homeland security. as a teenager jack ryan was a very loving boy and he loved swimming, mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, marksmanship training and military history. a year after graduating from high school and after we moved as a family to oregon jack ryan decided to enlist in the marine corps and told us that he wanted to serve his country and do things he cannot do in the
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civilian world and he wanted to start at the bottom and become a navy marine corps resident. jack ryan loved being a marine and we love that he loved being a marine. with only 13 months of service he was already talking about reenlisting in his dream of pursuing the billet and special operations and making it a lifelong career. we will always be proud of jack ryan and he followed in the footsteps of his great grandfather who served in the navy and his grandfather jack who served in the army along with becoming the first to serve in the u.s. military. his commanding officer describes jack ryan is a future leader and a standout who would seek out fellow marines that were struggling and offer them a kind word and a smile. a week before the incident jack ryan told me about his concerns with these votes and that they sink all the time it was hard to
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read that statement but now i know there is more to the story that was the basis for his concern. the loss of jack ryan has destroyed our families future plans. jack ryan was supposed to be the next leader of our family who is going to create his own legacy of success to his military career. we are looking forward to watching jack ryan build a family of his own and blessing us with grandchildren. jack ryan was also supposed to look after his brother samuel who suffered from a lifelong educational disability. with the marine corps with the result of the investigation we were shocked and disappointed by the top-down recklessness and gross negligence and lack of duty and care for our son and all the marines and families in the company. while we are doing the investigation report issue stood out to me that our cause for concern and questions and mainly, why were deadlines aed
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but not seaworthy very assigned to a unit that would be deploying the maritime response force and why was my son's aed company not any of the relevant prerequisites egress training which would have better prepared him and the others for such an emergency. why was the free exercise confirmation briefing and sections of risk emission and risk force not mention any of the waterborne risks associated with utilizing aeds that were in poor condition and embarking marines that were not adequately trained but yet the only identified risks was assessed to be unlikely to occur and willing to be there casualties on the assault force during embarkation operations on san clemente island and onboard the uss and
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is an experience federal investigator whose plan conducted and approved many high-risk law-enforcement operations the lack of detail on the breaking tells me one of two things. either it was intentional as an alleged cover-up for the lack of readiness or the exercise planners were not qualified to refer to assess risk or perhaps both. in my opinion the entire aed company was placed in extreme risk due to poor equipment, inadequate training and a poorly coordinated and monitored unsafe training exercise. we expect the marine corps and may be the navy be held accountable for these preventable catastrophic incidences to all of the means that are necessary or available at their disposal then with
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transparency and we also expect that u.s. military systems of accountability and -- be de- modernized as a way to ensure that every they fully appreciate and know the realities of their burden of command so that there is no place for recklessness and gross negligence in the u.s. marine corps and in the u.s. navy. thank you. >> thank you very much. i want to express my deep appreciation and sympathy to our presenters. in your presentation you not only spoke to the loss that you have had but he also spoke to the challenge that the marine corps has to create a culture of safety and i'm going to forgo my own question and i would ask my colleagues to keep their questions short and really i
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want to get there as quickly as possible to the issues that are two witnesses have presented. the problems that the marine corps and the navy exhibited in this tragedy. however, the gavel sheet is as follows. i will withhold the questions and mr. lamborn, mr. courtenay, mr. wilson and then back to ms. spear in that order. mr. lamborn, i turn to you. >> thank you, mr. chairman and to the two fathers and any of the other parents who were also in this hearing, obviously your two sons were among our nation's finest. there is no question about that. i will leave it to you to get to the bottom of this so that you can take solace in the fact that the end result of this will be that these kinds of accidents will be more preventative in the future then would have otherwise been the case and there is some
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solace in that. i will just ask one very brief question per what you said into either of you have a comment on the lines of communication that we have with the marine corps after the incident up until today? any comments that would be helpful for us to know about? you will have to unmute your computer. >> we can hear you. >> yes, please go ahead.
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>> speaking to that direct question i can tell you that the complaints about some of the what we experience with the casualty office i would just suggest that in the future you take a look at what aptitude a person would have that will be assigned to walking a family through this type of madness and i've expressed those concerns and believe they are starting to be handled in detail but also with an investigation like this we're talking about finding out that your son passed away and not carrying anything back other than we can tell you how the
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water was that day and just taking on water and that's basically the story we got. and then the pieces are starting to come out with there are questions but there is nine months of silence from the other side. it is maddening. then to have them show up at your home nine months later and drop a 2000 page report in your lap and tell you they are sorry and then leave you to navigate that in those nine families to navigate that after the fact was very difficult and i can tell you that pretty much we lived in just going through be notified that your son was killed twice and now with the second time there is confusion and anger and this drive to try to fix it so
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that is where we are left in the investigation took quite some time. i don't doubt that the gentleman became in the colonel that came to our house were sincere and in wanting to help the fact that the colonel that came told us that one of the reasons he was chosen was he was going to be. [audio difficulties] proceeded to tell us about what they were going to do to fix these specific problems. my answer was this. thank you. i'm glad you will try to fix these specific problems but what about all the other mishaps and what about the shoddy equipment and what about the other beyond training that is received in terrible decisions that were made and how will you fix that?
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the reality is this issue is a cultural issue and it's a non- safety cultural issue from the rains. [audio difficulties] >> that is precisely what this hearing will try to accomplish. >> anything to add? >> our hearts [inaudible] first sergeant from the reserve center in oregon and did a great job and i think he's highly seasoned and marine in the very empathetic and very sensitive to our needs so we have a positive
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experience with him so we do appreciate that but we do recognize that that job is hard i am sure for our first sergeant and it was the first time and he had to do casualty assistance and he did a great job so we very much appreciate him and everything he's done for us. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. mr. courtney. >> and q mr. chairman. i just want to join you and thanking our two witnesses and i just want to share how much i appreciate the powerful testimony that you presented this morning and i think challenged all of us on the
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subcommittee and full committee of arms services to do more in terms of action. i want to share with you that unfortunately this is not been the first time that the subcommittee has experienced a hearing like this and i tear the subcommittee and we jointly give the investigation follow-up in the wake of mccain and fitzgerald collision that took place in 2015 and there were half devon hearings that occurred in the wake of that and i want to note that as a result of that there were structural statutory changes that was made in terms of the surface fleet deployment system and we put safety measures and safety breaks into the lock and senator john mccain was actually one of her as final milestones shared the work together on the conference committee and we put
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17, excuse me, 15 statutory changes in the way of the decisions were handled in terms of supplying chips for sailors that were not certified and fully trained up and equipment that was not ready. it did not extend to the type of deployments that were discussing here today but i want you to know that we actually have the ability to make real change in terms of the national defense authorization act and i know the chairman and doug and we will do everything in our power to make sure that these hearings and your testimony will result in the action, tangible action in the wake and i just want to plainly note that, mr. vienna, claims for raising that issue of the paris doctrine and i think that's an antiquated part of the law that goes back to supreme court decision in the 1850s which really needs to be updated
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and modernized as they said and we need to really as lawmakers make some modifications and changes to the system to reflect the complexity of the technology and friendly, some of the overuse of outdated equipment so thank you to both of you and with that with her chairman i would yield back. >> thank you, mr. courtney. mr. wilson. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member for convening this extraordinarily important hearing. i am just so grateful that we have the witnesses before us today and i want to thank you and i want to thank both of you for your testimonies and what attribute to your sons and your families have should be so proud. i'm grateful for both of you being here today and with your
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families and no servicemembers should have a similar example of loss of life as we heard today and as having sons that served in the armed forces and one son still in the navy are particularly identify with what has occurred and then i want to show you that i look forward to working with the chairman with the ranking member on whatever we can do to assist you and in fact, sadly i had personal loss in the military. a former congressional staff member of mine, marine lieutenant colonel mcleod tragically was killed in an accident in iraq and then in 2006 and in 1970, 1978 still has affected our family. my late brother-in-law marine captain was killed in a helicopter accident in greece and with that question for mr.
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vienna, it really is parallel to what ranking member lamborn has asked but where there are shortfalls in the information provided to you and i know that you indicated that there should've been more transparency but on the notification the backup for the arrangements for the funeral and the notification to every family person possible weather shortfalls and then is there and this is so bipartisan that whatever we can do to address it in beginning with mr. vienna. >> you have to unmute. >> you are still muted, sir.
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>> hello? >> you're good to go. >> thank you. i apologize, i pressed the unmute button and it's just not working for me. i'm trying to understand the question in regards to our notification and funeral arrangements in those kinds of things. they go directly to some of the issues that we did have with our situation. for example, we plan the funeral for saturday we were told his body would arrive four days prior to that from dover and it did not come until that day so we had we had to change our funeral plans and move them back a day and we had 650 people at
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the ceremony and it was extremely difficult and also they cannot seem to coordinate things to make memorial in san diego and we were in the end it was going to miss it and there was just no way that it was also the same days that our body our son's body was post be arriving from dover and that evening and and someone at the community heard about it and they threw. [audio difficulties] flew a private jet to get to san diego with memorials of all nine boys and i'm so we did not miss.
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[audio difficulties] it was very rushed and ineptitude in being able to get these schedules squared away so i believe that is what the question was and i don't want to go on a tangent on these issues and i wanted to see what happens. >> if i might. mr. courtney, mr. wilson, excuse me, your time is expired. >> that was specific and we need to address those thank you and i yield back these questions that we received from the members and the responses indicated there is a series of issues that need to
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be dealt with with regard to family notification and we will get into those in detail and we will now turn to ms. spear who actually heads up the personnel subcommittee and in particular this particular problem is an issue that i know she wants to deal with. ms. spear, if you would. >> mr. chairman thank you. enter ranking member lamborn let me just say to you mr. vienna and we have had this extensive conversations and it shows the probable pain and that you have adored and i agree with you that we can no longer use this and if it has been the term used historically it is offensive to the family because of either
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dereliction of duty or gross negligence and it is, in fact, not a mishap and, to your point, we have made some changes but the paris doctrine is not law but a supreme court decision on what we have relied on and we should do more than we have done although we have provided over the course of ten years $400 million to deal with claims by servicemembers who are victims of medical malpractice at the medical facilities. i think we need to expand that to deal with gross negligence in situations like this and we will have to discuss this as part of the nda. there is a hefty price tag that comes with this, of course in the lives that are lost are real lives so i want to thank you
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both for your extraordinary testimony and we are not going to rest until people are held accountable and that we can make sure that this kind of conduct is not tolerated because it was conduct at the highest level that allowed these aeds to be floyd and i would just like to give you the floor to add any other recommendations that you would like to make sure that we deal with as it relates to the casualty officers and their interruptions with their families. >> with regard to transparency that the new commander was relieved which was the day before. [audio difficulties]
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they mentioned that the ministry of action was taken against ten others in found to have some kind of response ability yet did not tell us what kind of action was taken. we use that term with the ministry of action without any detail and it makes you wonder what is the real action and i understand that you can't and so i'm familiar with that but it would be helpful for those to know the ministry of action that was taken because it could be anywhere from a day off without pay two months off without pay or reduction of rank or whatever so that would be helpful in the future to have some more details for the type of action. >> thank you. i think it is also important for us to appreciate that when
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persons are extensively fired they are not really fired as we think of the civilian society and they are transferred and i think we have to take a hard look at whether or not we want people in leadership in some other unit who will have her make a decisions and mr. chairman i'll back. >> thank you, the gavel orders are as follows. mr. bergman, mr. johnson and then it would be mr. levin. >> good morning everyone. you notice i'm flying the marine colors behind me and it's a small way to express my feelings of your loss and there is no good casualty officer calls in
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my time in command. we did too many of them. i can just say to you i don't care what side of the aisle they are on but we will take an attitude of holding everyone accountable, including ourselves and there is no free passes here and there is no excuse for bypassing safety when it is in the training environment and i will just ended with that because that is what i believe and i know many of my colleagues here on the committee believe the same thing. we will do everything that we can to ensure that this does not happen again and with that, i'll back. >> thank you, mr. bergman. you always remind me not to mention your past service in the
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military so i will do that but i certainly understand. >> good morning. good morning everyone. like some of my peers this is the first time i've actually been in a hearing when we heard parents of folks who have been lost and i have a stepdaughter in the army so your testimony was extremely relatable and powerful and i'm so sorry for your loss. i guess my question is on the accountability side may be starting with -- what was the official reason the navy or i'm sorry, the marines said to you for these larger ports for the reason why the craft was allowed out when not being certified for seaworthiness and what was the official answer to that?
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>> as i recall, the details of the report is just that there was a matter of assignment of the equipment and the assignment of the equipment in poor condition and equipment that was deadline and the other side of it was the lack of training, not even initiated an appropriate relevant and this was the cost. >> i would say that one thing to say is you know, when you look at gross negligence and recklessness by the military officer there is nowhere in the military manual or training that conducts recklessness or gross negligence and i would say that
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when someone is in that passion they are outside the scope of their duties and they should bear that response ability for that liability for being outside the scope of their duties. now, whether the u.s. military wants to somehow indemnify them or take that liability off but that liability risk they are outside the scope of their duties and there is no way that that can be said, especially in the training environment with that kind of behaviors is acceptable and i'm sure there are many military officers that would and they would say it would not be calculated but substandard. >> yet, mr. chairman i would say that that is something i personally don't know enough about but i think might be worthwhile looking at and responsibilities of someone when they are acting outside the scope of their responsibilities. i note the topic we talk about another issues but i just certainly would be interested.
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mr. vienna, he said that you were here because he wanted to make sure that did not happen to other families and i appreciate that. can you tell me what from the marines said to you about what they would do to make sure such mistakes don't happen in the future? did they give any positive action they were going to take? remember to unmute. >> mr. vienna, you're still muted. there you go. >> okay. i don't know what the problem is. >> you re- muted yourself, mr. vienna.
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>> there you go. >> okay. are we good? >> yes. >> my apologies. >> unfortunately it has muted you again. if the tech team could please help mr. vienna out, this feels unnecessary. i see it flipping back and forth. try it over yeah, i'm not even -- >> it looks like i'm unmute now and i don't want to hit it again. >> you are a muted. >> okay, yeah, there's something wrong with that. it's not me. so, in talking about some of the exact issues one thing that they pointed out was there was no longer going to be having the aav commanders making decisions and that should come from a platoon commander and higher up
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and some very specific things that we are going to change, safety votes would now be absolutely in the water and things like that. what is disheartening is there was an article that came out by -- and he just retired about a year or so ago and on august there was a similar mishap but it was a helicopter accident and it crashed off one of the ships and reasons given for the three deaths in that investigation was lack of training, lack of restraint and that is in 2017. those parents are going to the same thing we're going through and they are told that their sons or daughters would not
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survive had they gotten the proper training. we now are three years, four years later and we are still in the exact same position we were and one boils down to the reason why this goes all the way up to the top is that where that comes from is really money in budget acquisition and it is the people at the very top and i'm talking about the assistant commandant level that decides what does and doesn't make the budget and what ends up happening is lethality. >> mr. vienna -- >> yes. >> excuse me, i'm going to have to take a little bit of control of this. we are now nearly 15 minutes into the two hours that we have available for our hearing. i know that there are at least five more members of the committee that would like to ask questions.
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i would ask my committee members and others to not seek the same answer again. the questions that was asked where that we specifically want to ask as mr. vienna just said the assistant commandant, that question. why after all of these it years and after all these accidents we still, the marine corps is still not properly training its men and women and so, your time is expired and thank you very much for your comments. i am instructed that all members have the opportunity to ask questions. if the question has already been asked then please move on to another question. the gavel order is mr. golden and mr. moore and ms. strickland
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and mr. moulton and mr. levin. i will assiduously follow the five minute clock and interrupt as necessary so thank you very much mr. goldman. >> mr. goldman, you are on. >> mr. golden? we will come back to you. mr. moore. >> mr. moore, you are up. hello, mr. moore. we will return to mr. golden and
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mr. moore should they come back on. ms. strickland, you're five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. to mr. vienna and i just want to express my deepest sympathies and there is nothing like losing a child, especially when they have signed up to serve our country. i'm very sorry for your loss. there was something that was said earlier that struck me and it is the way we use the term mishap and, you know, as we talk about moving forward i want to make sure we look at the term mishap because it trivializes what is happened to these young people. with that said very briefly i have a question for each of the gentleman who just justified. there are a lot of things we need to do better, count ability, investing in the equipment, keeping it up-to-date so that if there was one thing we can do as far as legislation goes or making an investment what would you like to see us do to help give you solace and rectify this issue for the other families?
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>> mi unweighted? >> i can hear you. >> good. i would say carve out something that does not allow for gross negligence. in a situation like this when there are as many issues as there are you can't call it anything other than gross negligence. when it reaches that level and you don't want to have, these little lawsuits here and there for frivolous things i understand that but in a situation like this there needs to be accountability and without accountability it's just going to continue and we will be watching in three or four years another hearing about lack of training and shoddy equipment and all these things and it's just going to recycle itself. >> thank you, sir.
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>> senator, i would agree with mr. vienna. the importance of modernizing the system of both accountability and liability is that on the front-end military officers will comport themselves appropriately on the backend and if they do something outside of their scope they will be held liable so it's really all about the front end and so that this never happens again. >> thank you, gentlemen. my deep deep some of these. mr. chair, i'll back. >> thank you ms. strickland. gavel order is -- if the members would and here is a new order. mr. johnson you are up in my apologies for skipping over you a moment ago. >> that's fine, i will yield for a lot more time.
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>> thank you mr. johnson please unmute. >> same here, mr. chair. thank you, hello from hawaii. >> i'm afraid you just remitted yourself. you are good. >> thank you, mr. chair. i want to think both for your testimony and i will yield my time to the others and thank you mr. chair. >> thank you. mr. moulton.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, i can imagine your loss and i'm how deeply affected by your testimony is this morning. i know it was not easy but thank you very much for coming and sharing it with the i have a marine veteran and this is a situation that i know well and i've spent a lot of time in an aav, including in waterborne operations and that's how we got into baghdad in 2003 and i can tell you we found the roots because we were afraid it would sink. there is a lot of work here to do and as a marine veteran and as a veteran of aav operations and of new operations we will or i can promise you that i would do everything i can to get to the bottom of this. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you mr. moulton. indeed we will lean on you for your expertise and experience as we deal with these issues.
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mr. leven. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you members of the subcommittee for allowing me to wait on and i wanted to also say thank you to mr. vienna for just being here today under these incredibly difficult circumstances. thank you for being here on behalf of your sons and your families and any other families who are suffering in the aftermath of this tragedy. it's incredible to see your strength on behalf of your sons, as you tell their story and as you work to affect change so that no parent has to go through your experience in the future. i am here today because i probably represent the servicemembers and their families at camp pendleton and if you've ever been to our region of san diego or to south california you know how much the base means to those who serve in our union. the marines define our communities and come from all across the country and to answer the call of service and protect our nation and our values and our way of life and the fact that they do it right down the street that makes us incredibly proud. many servicemembers also stay in
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our area when they transition back to civilian life and they make our communities stronger and makes me incredibly sad hearing about your sons and reading about the other marines we lost and i think about the pillars of the community that they would have been and i know our communities would have wanted to have them stay here in san diego so i'm safari for your loss and your sons were inspirations and their legacies they continue to be with that in mind i know that my colleagues will do all we can to uncover the facts of this tragedy to ensure it's not repeated. thank you, mr. chairman and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. levin. i want to give a very special thank you to our two witnesses today and these are two of the nine families that have lost their sons in this accident and so to all these families over
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somebody goes out to you in our prayers go out to all of the families who suffered so much. the testimony we received today gives us the direction and the desire to get at this problem. there is clearly a safety culture issue within the marine corps and unfortunately we also find it in other services. with this committee we will work diligently with the other subcommittees to address the issues that have been raised here and the issues of notification when there is a loss in the issues of responsibility as have been highlighted here several times and we are now going to recess this panel and we will take a five-minute break break and we
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will bring the marine corps assistant commandant to join us and the navy seal and the admirals to join us in the second. with that this panel is recessed and we will return in about five minutes. and so, if the members will stand by as we change out here. thank you very much once again to our two witnesses, peter and mr. vienna, thank you for joining us. with that we are in recess. ... washington journal continue.
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host: on our discussion on >> on our discussion on efforts to expand the supreme court offers guest brian fallon withh the group demanded justice, cofounder and executive director. good morning to you. >> good morning to you. great to be b with you and the c-span audience. >> describe your organization and what doesn't also financially who backs it? >> sure. we were founded in 2018 in response to donald trump and mitch mcconnell's maneuverings to confe' more than 200 judges to the federal courts that we believe will move the country dramatically to the right. court. we are urging the biden administration to nominate professionally diverse, young judges that have backgrounds as public defenders and civil rights lawyers and legal aid lawyers to help restore balance. we are supported by an array of foundations that fund our work
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on the 501(c)(3) side, and on the 501(c) four side where we do grassroots lobbying. on that side we have lots of grassroots supporters. host: when it comes to the topic of expanding the number of justices on the court, where do you and your organization fall on that perspective? guest: are grouped, since 2018 has supported a range of structural forms to the federal judiciary. including adding to the supreme court. we believe a growing share of the public, public polls also show, that the supreme court is broken. its legitimacy has been called into question. it's trust with the public has been broken. that's happened for two reasons. in the last five years we have seen republicans in the senate engage in a lot of maneuverings to shift the court to the right and assure themselves of the republican super majority which now exists on the court.
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most probably remember in 2016 after antonin scalia had died. republicans refused to consider any nominee from barack obama in the final year of his presidency. last year, we had a spring court nominee confirmed closer to a presidential election that has ever happened before in our history so republicans could through a conservative successor to ruth bader ginsburg. also the rulings have shown the body to be rather partisan. one that is increasingly cannot be trusted to call balls and strikes as john roberts said in his confirmation hearing about 15 years ago. you've seen the court since 20's -- 2006 rule 70% of the time in favor of the chamber of commerce, the main lobbying arm a big business in the country. and you see this with republican political interests when it comes to cases regarding elections and voting rights. everything from the shelby county decision in 2013 that got of the voting rights act to the decision three years ago to allow states to continue to
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engage in partisan gerrymandering. a lot of cases where the roberts court is consistently siding with republican interest make it harder for people to vote. so when the set of rulings and in the way that people have been confirmed to the court, you are to see public polling show and erosion -- an erosion in the trust of the spring court. as an institution, cannot be viewed as judgment. we think term limits, adding seats, and a code of ethics are necessary. host: our guest is with us to talk about the issues of expanding the supreme court. republicans call in at (202) 748-8001. for democrats (202) 748-8000. for independents (202) 748-8002. you can text us also at (202) 748-8003. hugh: wrote an op-ed -- you cowrote an op-ed, proposing
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adding four seats to the courts which would consist of a chief justice in 12 associate justices, equal to the number of federal judicial circuits. what do you think of the proposal? guest: in the fall of 2020, when ruth bader ginsburg died. democrats, in earnest, started talking about this proposal to add court -- seats to the supreme court. a lot of people said we don't want to have to pursue this path. but if republicans are going to obliterate the last remaining norms when it comes to confirmation processes around supreme court justices then this will be the only appropriate response. you even have republican and independent commentators, people like joe scarborough, lloyds from the next -- lawyers from nixon and reagan administration's saying that democrats would be wise to pursue this.
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susan collins opposed the confirmation a days before the election but they went through it. you have ed markey on the senate side, and mondaire jones, as well as jerry nadler who happens to be the chairman of the house judiciary committee, they have this proposal to add four seats to the supreme court. it's not in the constitution, the number of justices on the court rate it's up to congress to set that number. congress has changed the number seven times in our nations history area it's within congress's power tomorrow -- move in a straightforward unconstitutional constitutional way to achieve balance to this lopsided 6-3 super majority that exists. so i wrote that op-ed the other day. and new polling came out that the proposal introduced to add four seats is supported by a plurality of the american voters by six points.
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more people support adding seats than don'ts. host: since you mentioned delay justice bader ginsburg -- you mentioned the late just escape -- justice bader ginsburg. what do you think about members of the court itself who had this idea? guest: i have been asked about this whenever i am, i say they are on the court, what do you expect them to say? as sitting justices, they are going to say there's nothing illegitimate about the institution. that their power should not be called into question. it's not completely apples to apples, but a lot may have followed the controversy in georgia around the voting rights law. in response to the voting rights measure, wrote a suppression measure that their legislature passed and brian kemp signed. >> you can find "washington "wan journal" online at we will leave it as the house hearing returns. looking to an accident with an amphibious assault vehicle last
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july that killed nine servicemembers. >> that led to the loss of nine servicemembers in the prime of their life. the marine corps failed, failed to adequately maintain the material readiness of the aav fleet. the navy, the navy and the marine corps totally failed to ensure that personnel were adequately trained to ensure that this exercise could be performed safely. the navy and the marine corps failed to effectively integrate with each other to ensure that roles and responsibilities were adequately or even minimally understood. and that i was someone, someone with sufficient seniority who was paying attention, monitoring the changing events and
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constantly conducting and updating the risk management, the safety, or the lack of safety, the period the navy in the marine corps totally failed to understand, that after two decades of focusing on land-based combat, the proficiency -- amphibious operations may have been lost. may have atrophied, and that personnel needed additional training to conduct the exercise safely. the leadership of the navy and marine corps totally failed to account for the potential problems that covid-19 would have on readiness of these units. they were so desperate as they
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showed us, as they said, in hearings, formal hearings, that not to worry, we've overcome the impacts of covid and our readiness is not diminished. the gentleman, that was not true. as tragically shown in this incident. what's most upsetting to me is the failure of the navy in the marine corps to develop a culture of safety that would empower junior servicemembers to alert the chain of command when there is a breach of safety protocols, to be heard, to not be ignored. we don't have to invent that culture. it does exist, does exist in naval aviation and naval
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reactors community. that culture needs to be in every part of both the navy and the marine corps and indeed the other services as well. the navy and marine corps leadership must make a decision. they must decide to not allow the status quo to continue. the nine members of the marine corps, eight members of the marine corps and one member of the navy, that were lost were not the first. indeed, the marine corps has lost 60 marines in training accidents and just the last five years. 60 in five years. more than 130 in the previous ten years. it is an eerie echo here of the
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marine corps hymn here these losses, in the air, on the land and sea. as mr. courtney said in his earlier statement, the surface navy still struggling to adopt sustainable cultural changes in the wake of a loss of 17 17 s obvious mccain and fitzgerald. we passed laws. we provided money, and these tragedies continue. we have honored these nine members of our military with appropriate funerals and services, and i will say this. the only way to really honor their loss is that the marine corps and the navy developed a
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culture of safety. this is not war. this is training. this subcommittee and indeed the full committee demands better. i know that there are additional investigations underway, command investigations, and we'll get to those with a subsequent hearing. and we will be focusing on the event specific to this tragedy and to what the navy and the marine corps are doing to prevent it from happening again. with that, i turned to my calling and ranking member, mr. lamborn, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for having this hearing. thank you for our witnesses for
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being here. i'm going to keep this short so we can get into your testimony and the give-and-take with questions afterwards in the limited time that we have, and i want to know in a broad sense what is the marine corps doing to foster a better safety environment? obviously the y number of issues of things that went wrong in this particular incident. and more specifically -- [inaudible] and more specifically i i wano know what's happening with the proficiency for amphibious landings. amphibious landings obviously were not a priority in iraq and afghanistan conflicts in recent years, but with a pivot towards the pacific absolutely becomes a priority. so want to know about that in particular and with aavs. why are aavs so decrepit and
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so poorly maintained? do we need to buy new ones? are the not been maintain in a good state of readiness? what is the issue there? those of the things i want to hear about when they go to our testimony. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> following the test when we will go through the normal gavel order questions. joining us today is general gary thomas, , assistant,.gov the marine corps. vice admiral roy kitchener, commander of naval surface forces, and major general gregg olson, assistant deputy commandant plans, policies and operation, headquarters united states marine. you are formal testimony will be put in the hearing record.
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mr. thomas, general thomas, would you please proceed? >> chairman, ranking member lamborn, thanks for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the sinking of an assault amphibious vehicle on july 30, 2020, and have marine corps can improve it safety culture. today vice admiral kitchener, major general olson and i are prepared to answer your questions about what happened, what we have learned and what we are doing to enact change. first and foremost, the sinking of this aav and the deaths of eight marines and one sailor were preventable. preventable in so many ways, but we failed. we failed these brave young men.
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the testimony that we just heard from the families represented here today is heartbreaking. we also mourn their loss and extend our deepest sympathy to their loved ones. though it is little comfort to the families, we will honor their memory by taking the necessary actions to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. we owe this to these servicemembers and their families. to command investigation provided sufficient detail about the direct causes of the aav sinking. however, i believe there is more that we can learn about how this incident occurred, and how to prevent similar tragedies in the future. i have directed the general officer to conduct a follow long
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investigation into the forming of the marine expeditionary unit, including training and readiness oversight up to the marine expeditionary force level. this investigation is in progress and we will provide the findings to this subcommittee after headquarters marine corps review. we will also seek the counsel of the blue ribbon panel of outside experts so that we can capitalize on the generations of amphibious experience that resides outside of our ranks. it is a navy and marine corps inherited to train to standard for amphibious operations. future operating concepts and the lives of our marines and sailors demands that we increase our common understanding of the requirements for operations from the sea. to date, 11 marines have been or will be held accountable for
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their respective roles in this tragedy and in accordance with applicable law and regulations. some of these accountability actions are ongoing, including boards to consider separation from the service. we make decisions regarding accountability based on an individuals responsibilities and their performance of duties. an individuals rank neither obligated nor excuses him from accountability. as we learn more about this tragedy we will take additional measures as appropriate. more broadly, the marine corps recognizes that our historic grant and aviation accident trends must change course. over the past few years we have improved our safety reporting mechanisms, our information sharing, and safety management practices. as the result of these and other
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efforts we are seeing reduction in vehicle rollovers, from 2019-2021 we saw our lowest aviation flight mishap on record. record. however, the 2020 sinking of this aav and other recent accidents make it clear that the marine corps is safety culture must improve and that marines at all levels must make better risk decisions. every marine must be empowered to assess risk and speak up when they see something unsafe. commanders must provide the necessary oversight to mitigate risk and stop operations when the risk is too high. commanders must also develop command climates and value and reward reporting. add an institutional level we must provide guidance for these sources that report -- support to decision-making. we also have to manage operations were marines and
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sailors had the opportunity to complete necessary training in a safe and productive manner. we are committed to providing the leadership and resources to make these changes. we appreciate your oversight and continued support as we learn from our past, and make lasting changes to our safety culture. we look forward to answering your questions. >> general, thank you very much. i now turn to vice admiral kitchener, commander naval surface forces. >> good morning, chairman garamendi, ranking member lamborn, distinguished member of the readiness subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today. i too want to be start i -- fallen marines and sailors who served the country with pride and honor. this devastating loss underscores a very dangerous work our sailors and marines perform each day in our all volunteer force.
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and i once again remind us of our solemn obligation to provide each servicemember and environment where risk is being properly managed. we are committed as a navy-marine corps team to ensure that event such as this does not happen again. i just listen to the testimony of mr. vienna and mr. ostrovsky, about their personal loss and poor experience with the casually assistant calls officer. i spoke with mr. and mrs. the end before, incredibly grateful that they were willing to share their experience with me. i'm deeply saddened that may be processed did not work as it should have for this grieving family. i reached out to my counterparts who oversee that process and they are reviewing what happened with the vns as those in improvements that may result. the navy is committed to understand not only how our actions that contribute to this tragedy but also how we can
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better support families in future. i say this not only as a commander but also as a father of four, three of whom are serving in the military, including one enlisted marines at camp pendleton. you need to be following the 30 july the navy and marine corps implemented the safety laws of operation. the navy has not resumed operations and will not do so until we are satisfied that all necessary policies, , procedures and risk mitigation measures are in place. additionally all commanding officers will be trained to meet new requirements to under view the specific lessons learned before aavs embark a navy ship. the marine corps investigation discovering consistencies in the navy and marine corps operating procedures and policies for waterborne aav operations. i am working the deliberated urgently with my marine corps counterpart look across a full range of nathan marine corps
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integrated operations to ensure that operating procedures are aligned including a joint policy on the use of safety boats and clear lines of authorities during training evolutions. we are committed the navy-marine corps team to put sailors and marines to not put sailors and marines at risk while we examined are integrated policies and procedures. while the navy fully supports a finding recommendations and marine corps investigation, that marine corps investigation did not fully address navy actions on the state of david we are accountable as an organization and blissfully address whether navy action or inaction contributed to the incident, and what changes to practice and policy we must make. to be convincing waterborne aav operations. accordingly we initiated our own command investigation with the team of 16 navy, marine corps and civilian subject matter
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experts in areas such as planning, may the marine corps integration and training and operational safety. our investigation is expected to be completed within 30 days. professional seamanship is the standard with no exception. we owe that to the marines and sailors in our care. it is in our culture to critically evaluate and make and effectively government effective changes. although we operate in a dangerous and demanding environment, we will never be able to limit all risk. you have a word that we will with great speed provide you, the american people and are navy-marine corps team with our critical assessment of our current procedures and are planted best mitigate risk as we move forward with integrated amphibious operations to ensure this never happens again. on behalf of all sailors and the families and are navy civilians, i thank you for your continued support and look forward to your
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questions. >> thank you, admiral. i will now turn to major general gregg olson, assistant deputy commandant plans policies operations. >> thank you, mr. chairman, here thank you, recommend and other distinguished member of the subcommittee. as i am radiate your questions let me know my deep sadness regarding this preventable tragedy. i have years of experience with amphibious assault vehicles including my first tour as a twentysomething lieutenant. i can focus up at a place that these young men who were counting on others to keep i have done my underwater training at end of the fear and disorientation the result when you're rapidly submerged and i also know the value of the training in saving lives. every time i hear the details of this tragedy i'm struck by a senseless this. my heart goes out to the family of young men who died and i especially appreciate the bravery of the witnesses on the previous panel. as a answer your questions --
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[inaudible] for any lack of evidence. i'm simply trying to keep my emotions in check. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, general. i have a document dated march march 26, 2021, and it is signed by general thomas. it speaks to the issues at hand and what the marine corps is specifically doing to address the tragedy and the failures that occurred in this incident. point number eight, general thomas come you said the loss of these eight marines and one center was a preventable tragedy. you went on to say we mourn the
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loss of the lives and share their families enduring grief. the marines and sailors who died made the ultimate sacrifice while -- will never be forgotten. general thomas, those words need to be followed up by action. you have laid out seven specific actions that the marine corps intends to take. in our communication prior to this hearing, i told you that the construction industry in the united states has instituted a safety officer always on-site, always there to review and with a whistle to stop the construction activity if something is not safe. i recommend it to you that the
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navy should consider such a safety officer on all risky operations. as i look at the seven recommendations that you have made, i don't see an opportunity in any of those where someone to blow the whistle and call timeout. clearly that could and should it happen in this tragedy, but it didn't. i want to hear from you how you can assure us that the issues of safety will be paramount in exercises. general thomas, what assurances can you give us that your seven
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recommendations will lead to someone having the power to blow the whistle and stopping the exercise until safety can be assured? >> thank you, chairman. the first thing i would say is that, and you've alluded to this, this is our safety culture has got to improve. all marines need to understand that these safety culture or culture of excellence is imminent to a mission success. i share your view on making sure we have adequate oversight, and we are looking at adding additional safety specialists at the right place to ensure that our exercises are as safe as they possibly can be. that, in addition to established safety protocols on the types of
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things that are required to get our safety culture where it needs to be. i would point out that no one person is able to see all the intricacies of an exercise. and so equally as important as to having the right people with oversight is to as you alluded to, chairman, empowering marines to stand up or speak up when they see something that is unsafe and for them to be heard. and then for leaders at all levels to provide necessary oversight to mitigating risk, and then to stop operations when that risk is too high. i would tell you, chairman, that in all the exercises that we do across the marine corps everyday, every exercise at some point marines are standing up and pausing operations, and that's exactly what we need to do in this case, which is where
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we failed in this particular exercise. we are taking a hard look at that, chairman, and we will keep this committee informed as we go forward. >> i'm going to forego additional questions. i suspect most of the questions will be asked by my colleagues that i i would've asked some g to turn over to mr. lamborn, but before i do, i think the number is 137 marines have died in various accidents, training tran accidents over the last decade. 60 in the last five years. mr. lamborn, it's your turn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. -- >> five minutes. >> can you hear me okay? >> please go ahead. >> you may want to mute mike johnson. okay. general or admiral, , whoever
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wants to take this question. obviously there were some real deficiencies with the training regime that was in place that were not followed or should've been followed, that shouldn't have been in place, but also when it comes to the equipment and the aavs in particular here it seems like it was a disaster waiting to happen. these aavs were taking on water. the bilge pumps were not able to keep up. the batteries were not sufficient. there were a lot of specific things that were wrong with these aavs, and a subsequent inspection found that many of them failed. i believe the majority once they were inspected failed inspection. and should not be used. so what will the marine corps do with the need for better aavs in the future? this is something our
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subcommittee besides the training aspect is going to want to look at. so what's the best insight you can give us on how to get to a better state that we have aavs that are good for training, and actually good in actual conflict? >> congressman, i will start and i will turn over to olson, but let me be clear. -- should receive vehicles in the -- than they did. these are old vehicles but they are broadly well understood what is required to keep them up. although we have learned some things since the mishap that general olson will describe. but we will, i assure you, we will fully resource any requirement to keep this vehicle and in a high state of material greatness until it sounds down in 2026. let me turn it over to general olson for any additional filler
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here. >> ranking member lamborn your 100% correct, , sir. these vehicles were delivered as investigate officer notes horrible condition. 12 of the 13 were in operable on 20 april. all should been ready for both land and water operations. the aav putin mechanics did return them to condition code for land operations in time for a land only recognize great course. by the time they got on board ship they had been returned to what we thought was waterborne capable. what we found in a subsequent inspections after safety message came out on 31 july was we had a problem across the fleet with our watertight integrity. so 54% of the vehicles that were inspected had failures in the watertight integrity of the large intakes on the front to prevent air in and out of the engine that is underwater.
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18% of cargo hatches that were leaking in excess of what they should have been. and fully 50% had inoperable emergency escape lighting systems. there were other discrepancies as well. none of those vehicles are permitted back in the water until the are returned to operable condition. the watertight integrity testing regime has been 68 you into our technical manuals and into our technical instructions. we have not been inspecting to the level of detail necessary to determine these discrepancies. as chairman carmi denoted in the event the 20 years of land operations have caused us to lose some of our amphibious edge. to that in we're moving out on a detailed watertight integrity regime that will ensure that no vehicle goes in the water without being watertight and integral. you are correct about the bilge pumps. there are bilge pumps and every aavs that can expel water at a rate far greater than typically endures. the 400 some odd galas prevent
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they can pump over the side should've insufficient in this case. in this case it was not. the vehicle had far greater mechanical degradation than we knew of and when the transmission failed, the hydraulic bilge pumps failed. when the transmission failed the ingenuity idle is charging the batteries of anything when the engine compartment itself filled with water generator field and effectively the vehicle was without power. we know we are things to fix and we know we have glide slope to 2026 when amphibious combat vehicle would be folded operationally capable. in the meantime we will continue to sustain and fund the aav fleet to include finishing off the return to condition code alpha to think of as an ethical back for maintenance and its return to you in like new condition. even those inspections of the rcc a vehicles that we have watertight integrity issue that must be addressed will make the sickles watertight and will not put them in the water unless they are so.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> gavel ordered is -- wilson and then additional cash i note -- representative moulton when you spoke earlier and -- of his own expense with the aav and the rocky rocky situation said he and his colleagues sat on top, fearing being unable to get out if they had to if they were inside. we will come to you, mr. moulton, a little and i suspect you want to talk about that. mr. courtney. >> thank you, mr. chairman,, and thank you to the witnesses. admiral kitchener, in 2017 we had the two collations in the
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pacific region, fitzgerald and again. and after that richardson ordered a complete copy reviewed and that was in addition to all normal investigations with the already heard about this morning for this incident. the point of the comprehensive review was ready to look at structural changes in terms of the whole decision-making for sending large surface ships out in the pacific region where again the operations stand it was kind of overruling, or just overwriting any concerns regarding training certifications, ship readiness and clearly there was this string of completely unacceptable accidents and loss of life that was identified as flowing from it. again this year, consequences -- conference of review ended up with a margin of recommendations discard command level report that in the works right now we
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will get back within the next 30 days or so. is that what that is leaking ? is a looking again not just the specifics of who's responsible but really the structural system that's in place in terms of sending aavs out that are really not safe? >> thank you for the question. the navy cooperate fully with the marine corps in investigation and provided access to records, logs, and many witnesses. and when we reviewed the investigation we agreed with the fundamental conclusion that there were no causal factors attributable to the navy. however, what we did find, left a few questions unanswered. and what we -- we decide to open our own investigation to understand what actions and decisions that navy personnel made that day could have contributed to the tragedy. and then what policies and
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practices may be required and must be approved. so we stood up a team of 16 people here that's made up of navy, marine corps and civilian personnel, and they specific asked him to look at the actions of the personnel that day and the planning, the approval and execution of the operation. additionally, we asked them to look at the communications between navy and marine corps personnel prior to, during, and in the aftermath of the incident. we also asked him to look at a number of, says the impact of a number of conditions that day that may have been contributing factors. for example, -- [inaudible] the operation, the use, the policies use of safety boats and he was making those decisions. and finally we asked them to
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look at the command-and-control structure, and was there -- a place that the lenient authorities -- [inaudible] during the operation. you know, as from the mccain and fitzgerald incidents, we have worked very hard at our safety culture. and we expect and encourage all sailors have questioning attitude to expect the fine conditions that require -- [inaudible] and also make sure that the act on unsafe conditions and not ignore them. it's up to us as a leaders to create that environment that facilitate that action. >> thank you, admiral. i would just note this year did come back and identify weaknesses in the existing system after mccain and ways we could structurally and by law actually prevent that as a meeting earlier today, congress
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actually adopted that and now that's actually in law. we have seen some progress in terms of not having sailors untrained and uncertified again on large surface fleet, ships. and hopefully that's i think, i'm speaking for myself and ensure other members. that's what we want in terms of getting to specific problems here. as the chairman said this is just happening to frequently, and that says if there is sog more than just kind of trust us, we'll take care of this. we have really got to look at the structure of command and control and decision-making, and congress needs to step in and like we did with mccain and fitzgerald, make real changes. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back.
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>> thank you, mr. courtney. they gavel order is as follows, mr. johnson and ms. speier in that order. mr. wilson will return and i will come back to him when he returns. mr. johnson, you are up. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it very much and thank the generals for the time. this is an important hearing. we did hear that heart wrenching testimony earlier and it's so disturbing to all of us. let me get right to a couple of questions. i apologize if some of this have been answered already in previous statement or questions. my internet has been a little intermittent today. but we know with multiple mishap. i know the term would have concerned with as well but mishap investigations that revealed unit leadership properly reports. we will return to the string after i get after brief pro forma senate hearing.
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 3, 2021. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable robert p. casey, a senator from the commonwealth of pennsylvania, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until 4:00 p.m., on thursday, may 6, 202


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